‘DDW Hotspot’ Vlisco looks back on successful first edition

Vlisco – the Dutch fashion textile brand so well-loved in Africa for its colourful designs – exhibited last week for the first time at Dutch Design Week 2013. The company was elected a ‘DDW Hotspot’ (nomination by Dutch Design Magazine EH&I) and attracted some 30,000 visitors.

Thomas Widdershoven, Creative Director Design Academy Eindhoven “Vlisco combines a high standard of quality with an extended tradition and the joy derived from design and creativity. With Vlisco Unfolded the company made an unexpected and very well received contribution to Eindhoven’s visual culture.”

DDW Director Martijn Paulen: Vlisco is an international top brand, but in the Netherlands it has remained an ‘undiscovered gemstone’. The Vlisco Unfolded exhibition at Dutch Design Week is changing that. The unveiling of Vlisco’s heritage, story and its design philosophy – is now also being discovered by the Dutch who are taking the company to their hearts. A real asset for DDW!

Inspiring speakers
The speakers at Vlisco’s daily talk show the ‘Design Dialogues’ were a highlight of the week and tickets sold out every day. Presentations were given by experts such as Jana Scholze from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and Annemarie Commandeur from Amsterdam’s Stijlinstituut who shared inspiring insights with the audience. Commandeur reflected on the importance of storytelling patterns in building brand identity. Commandeur: “Most companies have to build brand-stories to be known by their consumers. Vlisco is a unique story.” Creative Director of Vlisco, Roger Gerards, adds: “We are more than just design; we’re also a part of our consumers culture and society. People claim and adopt our products… Vlisco is a love brand.”

Future plans
Vlisco also showcased exciting collaborations with like-minded creatives. Ground-breaking designer Studio Job was inspired by the Vlisco story to produce a one off-print, highlighted on a 1953 Artifort ‘Congo Chair’. Vlisco also presented haute couture dresses in collaboration with up and coming designer Marga Weimans and fashion by Harvey Bouterse – and more partnerships will follow. Vlisco CEO Hans Ouwendijk: “While protecting our heritage we will innovate in many areas. We see many interesting developments with our fabrics, as they appear in collections of both world famous fashion designers as well as young and talented creatives.” Ouwendijk adds: “We’re on an exciting journey with interesting plans and ambitions.”